Development and initial validation of the Response to Stressful Experiences Scale

Douglas C. Johnson, Melissa A. Polusny, Christopher R. Erbes, Daniel King, Lynda King, Brett T. Litz, Paula P. Schnurr, Matthew Friedman, Robert H. Pietrzak, Steven M. Southwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations

Abstract

This report describes the development and initial validation of the Response to Stressful Experiences Scale (RSES), a measure of individual differences in cognitive, emotional, and behavioral responses to stressful life events. We validated this instrument with active-duty and reserve components of military and veterans samples ( N = 1,014). The resulting 22-item scale demonstrated sound internal consistency ( α = 0.91-0.93) and good test-retest reliability ( r = 0.87). Factor analysis suggested 5 protective factors: (a) meaning-making and restoration, (b) active coping, © cognitive flexibility, (d) spirituality, and (e) self-efficacy. Associations with other measures supported convergent, discriminant, and concurrent validity. In separate military samples, the RSES accounted for unique variance in posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms above and beyond existing scales measuring resilience-related constructs, thereby demonstrating incremental validity. The RSES provides a brief, reliable, and valid measure of individual differences in cognitive, emotional, and behavioral responses to life's most stressful events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-169
Number of pages9
JournalMilitary medicine
Volume176
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2011

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